Former Wallaroos coach accuses RA of double standards

Former Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor has accused Rugby Australia of double standards following his sudden removal as head coach of the women’s national side after unsavoury comments he made about referees and players were accidentally uploaded during the Super W competition.

Nestor has questioned why Australia’s men’s sevens players were only given formal warnings for their behaviour while intoxicated on a flight home from the Olympics, while he was asked to resign.

Former Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor.Credit:Getty

“Those players got a formal warning; I got told I was going to have my contract terminated,” Nestor said. “My comments were said in a private box in a private conversation where those comments were not to be heard by anybody else. Theirs was in a public plane. I think there is a bit of inconsistency in how they’re applying their standards.

“When I Google Dwayne Nestor the wrong imputations created by Rugby Australia are close to the top of the search.”

Nestor also claims he never received a phone call from RA chief executive Andy Marinos during his time as coach, something he believes was “disrespectful” to the Wallaroos program.

On July 3, just hours after the Super W grand final, RA announced two Wallaroos coaches, Nestor and assistant Matt Tink, had “resigned” following the use of “unacceptable language”.

The pair were stood down by RA after audio emerged of them criticising players and referees, which was inadvertently uploaded to a portal later heard by players and other staff.

A number of people took offence, with Marinos saying in the release: “We do not stand for such behaviour”.

Nestor, breaking his silence in an interview with the Herald, acknowledged his remarks about the referee were “totally unacceptable” but says he stands by his comments about the players, which were supposed to remain confidential.

“I wish to counter an unfair and negative perception that has been created about me via the actions of Rugby Australia,” Nestor said.

Nestor said when he became aware that audio of he and Tink talking during a match had been made available online, he asked for it to be removed.

“Before I could meet with the squad, I was notified that I had been stood down pending an investigation,” Nestor said. “The next day [July 3] I was informed my contract was going to be terminated. My requests to speak with senior people within Rugby Australia, including CEO Andy Marinos, were declined.

“I do not know the outcome of the investigation and I was not shown a copy of Rugby Australia’s press release before it was issued. I believe this … created a misleading and damaging impression of my professionalism and leadership.”

RA declined to answer a number of the Herald’s questions on Wednesday but in a brief statement, a spokesperson said: “Dwayne Nestor confirmed his resignation voluntarily and without duress.”

Nestor, who is not pursuing legal action, said he felt pressured to resign.

“I chose to resign, but I was naive,” Nestor said. “I should have fought harder for something I genuinely loved doing. The privilege of coaching that team wasn’t lost on me.”

Nestor would not divulge what he said and the Herald has not heard what was said.

Nestor has apologised but insists the comments were not made about players’ mental health, as has been reported.

“I’m not going to repeat it or put it out there,” Nestor said. “It wasn’t called for. I’ll own that.

“I didn’t say anything about any players’ mental health. There was no gender comments. There were two swear words on three occasions I used. There was a comment about the referee – it was one word and it was wrong.

“My comments [about performance] … I stand by them. I was verbalising thoughts. I wasn’t degrading any of the girls. I was just frustrated with some of the quality of the play, some of the decisions that were made. It’s not like the entire 80 minutes was entirely expletives and me sledging the girls. That’s completely incorrect.

“I said I was willing to face a hearing – a breach of the code of conduct – about the word I said about the referee and I wasn’t given that opportunity.

“I do not believe my actions warranted such a disproportionate response.”

“Those players got a formal warning; I got told I was going to have my contract terminated.”

RA declined to comment when asked if it felt there were double standards between the handling of Nestor’s case and the men’s sevens team, or if it was true that Marinos had not spoken to Nestor since being appointed in December.

“The first time I’d spoken to the CEO was this Monday when I was finally able to get in contact with him,” Nestor said.

“I said to him, I thought it was disrespectful to the Wallaroos program. These girls train so hard and you don’t want to talk to the head coach to ask how the program is going?

“We were told we would have to reapply for our jobs at the end of October, at the end of our contracts, because the CEO wanted to implement this policy that in all national teams the coaches would have to reapply at the end of contracts at the end of a cycle.

“We were fine with that … yet the sevens coaches have been reappointed without an advertisement process? It confuses me. Is that consistent?

“I stayed quiet initially because I did not want to create a sideshow for the Wallaroos ahead of their preparations for the World Cup. I was also naive about the impact of Rugby Australia’s media management on my professional standing and my capacity to earn an income to support my young family.

“I’m trying to get work but it’s become very apparent that I can’t do that. People are hesitant to engage because of that situation and that’s what prompted me [to speak out]. I didn’t want to make a show. That’s why I haven’t said a word.

“The game doesn’t need another shit storm. I do love the game, I just want to just get my side of things across.”

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